Dairy-free hot cross buns to delight in!

hot_cross_bunsEaster is just around the corner, and with it comes the tradition of tucking in to tasty hot cross buns – a spiced baked good prepared with raisins and marked with a crisscross.

Exactly why we eat hot cross buns at Easter is up for debate. Some point to the buns as a symbol of Christianity, with the cross representing Christ and the bread suggestive of communion.

Others say the practice of delighting in small cakes stems from a pagan ritual to ring in the spring, and the buns eventually became institutionalized as Good Friday fare in Tudor England.

Regardless of the baked goods’ origin, what’s certain is hot cross buns are delicious. But, why spend “one a penny two a penny” on them, when you can make your own to enjoy hot out of the oven with your favourite Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese Icing?

Plus, with the below dairy and egg-free recipe, everyone can indulge in the sweet treat, including people with food restrictions, like a lactose intolerance, and those who practice vegan diets.

Makes 12 buns

1 cup dairy-free milk
½ cup brown sugar
1 tbsp. active dry yeast
2 tbsp. flax meal, or egg replacer
3 tbsp. warm water
2 tbsp. fresh orange juice
4 cups bread flour
2 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. allspice
¼ tsp. clove
½ teaspoon of salt
½ cup melted vegan margarine
2 tbsp. fresh lemon zest
2 tbsp. fresh orange zest
½ cup raisins

In a large mixing bowl, place dairy-free milk, sugar and yeast, stir and set aside while yeast activates. In a separate mixing bowl, combine flax meal or egg replacer and water. Whisk until thickened. Pour in to milk mixture, and whisk in orange juice.

Stir in the flour, spices, melted vegan margarine and zests, and fold into a dough. Knead on a floured surface and add raisins. Set aside the dough to rise up to twice its size – about an hour.

Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. When the dough has risen, divide into 12 equal parts and roll in to balls. Place on the parchment and press down to flatten slightly. Let the dough rise for about a half hour, before cutting a shallow cross on each bun and placing them in a preheated 218 C (425 F) oven. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool, before crossing the buns with the below frosting recipe using a piping bag.

Frosting ingredients:

1 container Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese

½ cup soy margarine

2 cups icing sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 ½ tsp lemon juice

In a blender, combine the cream cheese and margarine. Slowly add the icing sugar, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Continue to mix until the frosting is soft, smooth and fluff.